Review

I watched ‘Brexit — The Musical’ at BLP’s office and it was actually really great

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25

Who’d have thought Andrea Leadsom could be so funny?

‘Andrea Leadsom’

Walking up the stairs to Berwin Leighton Paisner’s London office, ready to watch a Brexit musical written by one of its EU law partners, I couldn’t help but think: “Why had no one thought of this before?”

The events of the past 18 months really have been the stuff of satire, so much so lawyer Chris Bryant admitted in a post-performance Q&A that writing the play had been “an extreme form of therapy” for him.

Having scanned coverage of ‘Brexit — The Musical’ at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, promo shots of a bumbling, bad blonde wig-wearing Boris Johnson led me to assume I was about to watch some tasteless slapstick.

Sure, there was caricature: a clueless Theresa May resorted to googling how to leave the EU, while a pathetic Michael Gove was bossed about by wife Sarah Vine. However, the show was taken up a level by its quantity of more subtle nods to the madness that is British politics. May’s cringey Mexican wave moment, Jeremy Corbyn’s awkward high-five with Emily Thornberry — the clever ‘blink and you’ll miss them’ references took the show from blatant Brexit bash to clever political satire.

Leaving the subtleties very much to one side, the highlight of any musical is of course its songs.

There are plenty of growers in the show’s tracklist so stick with them — my toe was tapping by the end of May’s “if I’m a bloody difficult woman, it’s only because I have to deal with bloody difficult men” solo. Besides, who wouldn’t want to see a dressing gown and bulldog slippers-donning Michael Gove singing “I don’t understand it — what do you mean we’ve won?” alongside a union flag underwear-clad BoJo?

If that doesn’t interest you, later there’s a cross-legged Corbyn, wearing just one welly, craving the “organic wine” and “funny fags” of Glastonbury. I was particularly tickled by the waterproof festival-goers who entered the stage at this point, given that I’d been asked by BLP to decant my glass of Pimms into a plastic cup, so was feeling very festival-y myself.

At times, the jokes dragged. Watching a charismatic, yet unnervingly sexual, BoJo celebrate his accession to Foreign Secretary was hilarious for about 20 seconds, after 30 I was ready to move on. And the show won’t win any awards for its staging, either. Exposed speakers and lighting to one side, the darker hair poking out from under May’s grey wig was really bothering me.

But all this was almost entirely forgotten when the undeniable star of the show made her debut about half an hour into the hour and ten performance.

Bursting onto the stage chanting “look at my credentials,” a manically-smiling, orange blazer-wearing Andrea Leadsom entered with might in her desperate bid to knock May off her Conservative leadership race throne. Winning the Falklands War, pulling down the Berlin Wall — there’s little the virtually unknown politician hasn’t (claimed to have) done.

Aside from winning the trophy for the only person to tap dance in the show, she’s its only true Brexiter too.

Gove and Johnson admit early on that their Leave allegiances were merely a power play and that “leaving Europe will be a catastrophe”. Leadsom, by contrast, doesn’t think “you can ever trust those continentals”, having had her heart broken aged 17 by a gorgeous Italian named Alejandro. “He was shagging my best friend”, she raged, prompting roars of laughter from the audience.

‘David Cameron’ and his wife ‘Samantha’

An evening spent watching a recently resigned David Cameron rejoicing at no longer having to mix with “normal” people (i.e. “oiks”) who drive their own Mercedes and drink prosecco can only lead one to ask: What the hell is happening in British politics? Thankfully, Bryant and co have given audiences the opportunity to laugh, not just worry, about the answer to that question — for the evening at least.

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25 Comments

Trumpenkrieg

Looks about as enticing as necking a pint of cold vomit.

(6)(3)

Anonymous

Your comment implies that necking a pint of warm vomit would be acceptable. Please clarify.

(1)(0)

Trumpenkrieg

I’d rather neck a pint of vomit, hot or cold, than sit through this soyified cuck-fest

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Could someone clarify; while the musical was written by a partner, are the actors also staff members, or are they ‘professionals’?

I would be more impressed with the former, really.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

The actors are pros

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Top of their game. Turned down Hollywood for this. I mean they could have been Hollywood, but it’s too conformist and it’s just not them, they wanted to stay true to their art. Nah, the dregs performing a dreggy play.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Court deadlines. Meh.

(0)(0)

Disgusting of Tomb-Dwellings Smells

Did they also sell the talking dolls of Theresa May that repeated the words “strong and steady” over and over again when you squeezed them?

So lifelike, they were…

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Here comes the Brexiteers with their lack of ability to take a joke and their anti-EU cries about “Taking back our sovereignty from the European overlords”

(2)(1)

Trumpenkrieg

Left wing jokes are not funny..

(2)(4)

Corbyn. Symphathiser

I’m sorry you are such an easily triggered snowflake.

(3)(4)

Anonymous

Not the real Corbyn. Sympathiser.

(2)(0)

Trumpenkrieg

You’ve made a category error there, fellow.

Failing to find something funny is not an instance of “being triggered”. It’s quite the opposite, actually.

(1)(4)

Corbyn. Symphathiser

Because as we all know, people who aren’t easily triggered respond to humour that they are politically opposed to by saying “I’d rather neck a pint of vomit, hot or cold, than sit through this soyified cuck-fest”. I mean that’s just good old-fashioned level-headed critique.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

Not the real Corbyn. Sympathiser.

(1)(0)

Trumpenkrieg

You are too Gamma.

Lift some weights and eat some steaks, bro.

(2)(2)

Corbyn. Sympathiser

Should I do that before or after commenting on an article about a musical on Legal Cheek dot com at 11:11pm, a truly Real Alpha activity?

(2)(2)

Anonymous

Again, not the real Corbyn. Sympathiser. What a loser!

(1)(0)

Trumpenkriegfinder General

Wow. Moved onto gamma now (used to be just beta). What betting omega makes it into Trumpy’s (depressingly limited) lexicon anytime soon ?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

You are so triggered it’s laughable libtard

(0)(1)

TFG

*snigger* Nerve touched love ?

Snowflake

(1)(0)

Corbyn. Sympathiser

He must get awfully confused by the US Army unit Delta Force.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Again, not the real Corbyn. Sympathiser. Stupid cuck.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

The biggest takeaway from this article is that Katie King is no Michael Billington

(1)(0)

Anonymous

KK – stick to the day job. I don’t think theatre criticism is for you

(1)(0)

Comments are closed.